A psychologist is an exciting career choice for those interested in helping people and studying human behavior. Psychologists can work in various settings, including mental health clinics, hospitals, schools, businesses, or private practices.
If you are interested in becoming a psychologist, there are a few things you need to know. Especially how long it takes to become a psychologist, what type of education and training is required, and the job outlook. In this article, we will look at the meaning of a registered psychologist and how to become one.
Registered Psychologist Overview
A registered psychologist is a professional who has completed an accredited tertiary degree in psychology and has met all the registration requirements of the Psychology Board. Psychologists are registered with the board to use the title “psychologist” and practice independently.
The main aim of psychology is to understand behavior and mental processes and change them if necessary. The work of psychologists revolves around studying how people think, feel, and behave. This includes understanding both normal and abnormal behavior. Psychologists use their knowledge to help people deal with a variety of problems, including:
- Substance abuse
- Eating disorders
- Learning difficulties
Becoming a Registered Psychologist
There are a few things you need to know before becoming a psychologist. Let’s take a look at the steps you need to take:
Step 1: Get a Bachelor’s Degree
The first step is to obtain a bachelor’s degree in psychology from an accredited university. A bachelor’s degree in psychology typically takes four years, although some programs may take longer. You’ll gain a foundation in psychological theory and research methods and an introduction to the field of psychology.
Suppose you completed an undergraduate degree in another area of study. In that case, you may be able to complete an online Graduate Diploma of Psychology which will provide you with the necessary psychology units to apply for a master’s degree. It is essential to check with the Australian Psychology Accreditation Council (APAC) for guidance on the required qualifications.
Step 2: Meet Supervised Practice Requirements
After you have completed your degree, the next step is to meet the supervised practice requirements set out by the Psychology Board. This includes completing a minimum of 4,500 hours (or two years) of supervised practice, which must be done over five years.
The first 1,500 hours (or six months) of your placement must be completed under direct supervision. You will work with a registered psychologist who will provide guidance and support while you complete tasks such as assessment, diagnosis, and treatment planning.
The remaining 3,000 hours (or 18 months) can be completed under indirect or direct supervision. Indirect supervision is when you work with clients but do not have regular contact with a registered psychologist. Instead, you will have regular meetings with a supervisor to discuss your work.
Step 3: Complete a Master’s Degree or Doctorate in Psychology
After obtaining your undergraduate degree, you’ll need to complete either a two-year master’s degree or a four-year doctorate in psychology from an accredited institution. These programs will provide you with more in-depth knowledge of psychological theory and research methods.
You’ll also have the opportunity to specialize in a particular area of interest, such as clinical psychology, counseling psychology, educational psychology, forensic psychology, health psychology, or Sport and exercise psychology.
You’ll be required to complete a certain number of hours of supervised work experience during your studies, also known as an internship. This experience will allow you to put your theoretical knowledge into practice and gain valuable real-world experience.
Step 4: Register With the Psychology Board
After completing your degree and meeting the supervised practice requirements, you can register with the Psychology Board as a general psychologist. You will need to provide evidence that you have met all the registration requirements, including completing an accredited tertiary degree in psychology and completing the required amount of supervised practice.
It is important to note that registration is not automatic, and you will need to apply to the board. The board will assess your application and decide whether or not to grant you registration. If you are granted registration, you will be able to use the title “psychologist” and practice independently. You will also be required to comply with the board’s code of conduct and keep up to date with your Continuing Professional Development (CPD).
Step 5: Do an Internship or Volunteer Work
As we mentioned before, you’ll need to complete a certain number of hours of supervised work experience (internship) as part of your studies. However, even if you’ve already completed an internship, it’s still a good idea to do some volunteer work or internships to gain more experience.
Many organizations offer internships and volunteer positions, such as hospitals, clinics, community centers, schools, and research laboratories. Doing an internship or volunteering will give you the chance to learn new skills, meet new people, and make valuable connections in psychology. It will also help you decide what area of psychology you’re interested in pursuing.
Step 6: Find a Job
Once you’ve completed your studies and registered with the board, you’ll be ready to start your job search. The job outlook for registered psychologists is positive, with the demand for qualified professionals expected to grow in the coming years. This is due to increasing awareness of mental health issues and a greater willingness to seek help from a psychologist.
As the baby boomer generation ages, there will also be a growing demand for psychologists specializing in senior psychology, as older adults are more likely to experience age-related mental health issues. There are many different types of jobs available to psychologists, such as:
- Clinical psychologist
- Counseling psychologist
- Educational psychologist
- Forensic psychologist
- Health psychologist
- Sport and exercise psychologist
To find a job, you can search online job boards, contact psychology organizations, or look for job postings in your local newspapers or online. You can also check with your university’s career center for job opportunities. Once you’ve found a few potential jobs, it’s essential to send in a well-written resume and cover letter.
Becoming a registered psychologist is a lengthy process, but it is worth it for those passionate about helping others. With the right qualifications and supervised practice, you can make a difference in the lives of those around you. If you’re interested in becoming a registered psychologist, now is a great time to start working towards your goal.